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In August, 2008, I posted a blog piece on a bit of amateur genealogical sleuthing I was doing, trying to connect with my family tree on both sides (Chadwick and Pudney). That piece somehow got read by a few people scattered around the world, and I started getting emails.

It seems I have previously unknown relatives on the Chadwick side. I was surprised, pleasantly so. Wonderful thing, this Internet. A few years ago I would have known none of this. Now I'm in contact with family I never knew I had.

So despite the general feeling among living relatives, the rest of the family wasn't all hung as horse thieves! (Although if you search the records of the Old Bailey, you will find a few who were... how close a relation they were, I still have to determine...)*

It turns out I have cousins in the USA and New Zealand. I already knew about family in South Africa (my father's sister, now Mary Taylor, and her kin). My father's mother, Winifred (Barlow), also came from Oldham, but I have yet to trace that side. There are a lot of online sources, but unfortunately the best are also expensive to use. I will plumb the free services first before I pursue the paid subscriptions.

I wasn't aware of other branches of the family spread around the world until recently, when I was contacted by some of them through email.

I've even recently become aware of other relatives in Old Blighty - England, that is. I'm still working out where Neville fits into the family tree. More to come, of course. There is a rich story in this connection, and some tragedy, but it has to wait for a while before I can write it.

Mike, my four-times-removed cousin (as I understand it) in New Jersey, is assembling a family tree, and has shared his research-to-date with me. It includes some fascinating stuff and connections going back to the mid-18th century. Some of it makes me wonder about genetics. Can careers or tendencies be inherited?

Horatio Chadwick, for example, was the mayor of Oldham at the turn of the last century (1903). That's Horatio at the top of the page, wearing his chain of office, photo courtesy of my New Jersey cousin. Oldham is a town that has become part of greater Manchester. Oldham was my father's birthplace (Watts Chadwick, B. 1914, but after he moved to Canada, he changed it to William Watts, apparently because Canadians found Watts too unusual a name). Oldham was home to many of my ancestors as far as has been researched - others came from nearby towns in Lancashire.

My father's (Watts) father (Frank) was a newspaper reporter for the Oldham newspaper, too. So here I am, a former newspaper reporter and editor, and a politician. The apple never falls far from the tree, eh?

I love motorcycles. My New Zealand relatives' son raced motorbikes. They love dogs. I do, too. Think something like that runs in the family genes?

Mike in NJ dug through the family archives, tracing the family back to its recorded origins. My side has a direct link to Richard Chadwick, born 1752, in Lancashire, married to Anna (last name as yet unknown). It's a broad tree, with lots of branches, and I'm still working through all the connections trying to establish who goes where. I have bits and pieces from both his and my New Zealand cousins to add to my tree, too.

Mike also noted in an email that,

...you will see online a lot of theories to the origin of the name Chadwick. They originate in the Rochdale area where the parish church is St. Chads. St. Chad was an early English saint and bishop of Mercia who died in 672. The word wick has a number of origins. In Norse it means bay, which is pretty unlikely at the top of a hill in the Rochdale area. The one I prefer is settlement, derived from vicus (Latin). A hamlet in the parish of St. Chads would become Chadwick. When the Normans conquered Britain they insisted the Saxon population have surnames so they could be properly identified for taxation purposes. Hence, you would have someone only known as Robert becoming Robert of Chadwick.

On my mother's (Mary Pudney) mother's side (Jean Dunlop), we can trace part of her family back to the Highland Clearances - Scots' families (McDonalds and Dunlops) being transported to New Scotland (Nova Scotia) in the early 1770s (in our case arriving on the ship, the Hector and remaining in what would become Canada ever since). I think two-plus centuries here qualifies us as Canadians.

On her father's side we trace back to a small town in Kent - Sittingbourne. Her father's side - Pudneys (and some Pentecosts) - came to Canada in 1890. Almost 120 years - enough to be considered Canadian? Maybe. I'm still working on sorting through those connections and trying to assimilate my mother's family tree into the Chadwick tree.

As I said, more to come. There are online resources I haven't even begun to plumb. Who knows what I'll find? It's an adventure, really, and quite a bit of fun, too. I'll post my tentative family tree soon, too.
* William Horatio Chadwick was sentenced to two years' imprisonment for stealing 15 printed books from his master, Henry Samuel King, in 1858. Given my passion for books - our house bulges with them - he must have been an ancestor. Of course, I'd never steal anyone's books, but I'm pretty sure I keep the likes of Chapters and Amazon online stores in business just from my own purchases. The family tree shows I am descended from a William Chadwick (1819-1897). Wonder if they're the same man? He appears to be brother to Thomas Chadwick (1823-92) whose son was Horatio Chadwick (1849-1921), the mayor, above. Other Chadwicks listed in the Old Baliey records(not necessarily as felons, but also witnesses and defendants) include Cloudsly Chadwickand Baringarious Chadwick, Mentor Augustus Chadwick, Eichard Chadwick and Beet Arthur Chadwick.

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